“How Girly Am I?” You Ask. Let’s find out!
I read a lot of science fiction, chock full of heroines who kick ass and take names…and then grind those names in the dust of a thousand incontinent camels. I was in the military*. I have managed to change a plugged up sink. So, you’d expect that I would be able to face down your basic household pest with some equanimity. You’d be wrong.
I’m doing laundry in the basement. It’s night. It’s dark. The room is full of ominous shadows. I’m wearing shorts and have bare feet. If I were a cute, eighteen-year-old co-ed there’d be someone lurking in a corner wearing a hockey mask intent on resolving some mommy issues with a chainsaw.** Instead, I am a middle-aged frump reaching for a pile of wet towels.
(Cue the horror music.)
I’m lifting a piece of laundry when suddenly a creepy mustache bolts from its hiding place and races like a deranged zipper past my toes.
(I hit the ‘K’ extra hard, about two octaves above middle C.)
I chuck the laundry and bolt up the stairs. After my heart stops trying to choke me and drops back into my chest cavity, I gird myself (with long pants, socks and shoes—I wasn’t messing around) and tiptoe back down to the cave of the beast. I manage to finish throwing the laundry into the machine, glurg some detergent in and skedaddle back up the steps—leaping a bit in case one of those hideous creatures had laid a trap for me. Relieved to be alive, I celebrate with ice cream. Like Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones from Men In Black, I thought the danger was past.
A few loads of laundry go by and I start to relax. I’m doing a load of black clothes and I reach down and grab a pair of pants and I’m just going to check the pockets when one of those creepy mother… [expletive deleted] …crawls out and drops into the wash. I don’t have much of a killer instinct. I’ve never hunted despite firing several types of fire arms*** But that sonuvabitch [expletive not deleted because DAMN!] was going down. I quelled the squeamish notion that I was washing my clothes with a monster and that I’d be wearing dissolved bug bits for days and moved the dial to the ‘Extra Heavy’ setting. I wanted to be sure to drown that bastard but good. I later asked my eleven-year-old to move the wet laundry to the dryer so I wouldn’t have to face touching the shredded corpse—thus answering the question, “Would I ever implicate my child in a murder in order to hide my crimes?”
I now use the payload retrieval device left over from my surgery to grab each piece of laundry and give it a shake over the utility sink before I attempt to check for crayons. (I deserve a bloody medal for this act of bravery.) Laugh if you will, but I have no interest in become a ghoulish headline:
WOMAN FOUND DEAD IN BASEMENT, BUGS TO BLAME
Neighbors report they heard screams in the night and called police. Upon arrival, the officers found a woman (name withheld pending investigation), wearing full hockey gear and holding a meat mallet, lying in a pool of fabric softener. A can of industrial strength Raid was beside her.
A preliminary hunt for signs of a break-in turned up nothing as the victim was home alone and all the doors were locked.
“It was the oddest thing,” a source at the crime scene reports. “If I had to guess, I’d say they got her during the rinse cycle because that’s when she dropped the Downy.”
Evidence suggests giant house centipedes may be to blame. The crime scene investigators drew straws to see who would have to collect the multi-legged bodies recovered from the scene. The monster-sized insectivores were identified by a local expert. “It’s unusual to see so many of the creepy buggers in one place.” Said Bern “The Bugman” Bukowski, an entomologist attached to the County Sheriff’s office. “They are very territorial. But a swarm, while rare, would make sense if the nest felt threatened.”
A follow-up report revealed massive bruising, which was apparently self-inflicted, to be the cause of death.
Asterisk Bedazzled Footnotes:
*My military service was not the AHOY kind or the HooRaaaaah gung ho kind but the Stand-in-Line-and-Pretend-to-Be-a-Tree kind. I do an excellent impersonation of a Baobob.
**Considering what happened next, I’d have preferred the saw-wielding maniac. Then maybe my brain would have done something productive.
***Firearm training included a grease gun—an odd weapon like a caulking gun with bullets. Slow as the firing mechanism was, I suspect throwing the ammo would have been faster and more accurate.